For Accelerating the Caribbean Recovery
Caribbean islands slammed by the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season are back in business, thanks to tireless efforts by island governments, business owners, island tourism officials, charitable organizations and residents. The cruise industry helped too with relief supplies/evacuations and by sending cruise ships back quickly after the storms passed. Cruise lines delivered cruise visitors to help island economies stay afloat during the post-storm period when many local hotels were closed and air lift was limited.
Kudos to Michele Paige, president, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (F-CCA); Adam Goldstein, chairman, F-CCA, and vice chairman, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; and Arnold Donald, global chair, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and president and CEO, Carnival Corporation. The dynamic trio kept the continual progress for Caribbean recovery top of mind with media and consumers.
Adam Goldstein, chairman, F-CCA, and vice chairman, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Most importantly, they put the damage in perspective geographically (most of the region was not impacted, although damage was severe on a few islands). They also effectively created an effective “Caribbean is Open” approach to publicity and advertising.
F-CCA’s president since 1997, Paige was invaluable for her close working contacts with island tourism officials; she’s an executive committee board member of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). At F-CCA, she also has strengthened ties between the cruise industry, the Caribbean and Latin America. Goldstein and Donald are certainly also well-connected within the Caribbean.
The trio worked closely with the most impacted islands — the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands and St. Maarten — and encouraged them to not simply rebuild but to “come back better.” In some cases, that’s resulted in new experiences for cruise visitors and improved infrastructure.
Arnold Donald, Global Chair, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and President and CEO, Carnival Corporation
Recently, F-CCA has committed to a multi-year plan for continuing the innovative “Caribbean Is Open” and “Caribbean for Everyone” campaign, which has generated more than 5.77 billion impressions and improved Caribbean cruise bookings. This campaign has included PSAs with more than 30 celebrities; a satellite media tour; 12,000 media placements and 18,500 shares of news stories; teleconference media briefings; social media outreach; and support/promotion by CLIA, ASTA and USTA.
It’s not easy to convince the public that a region is open for business after consumers have seen negative headlines and dramatic photos or videos of Mother Nature’s wrath. But Paige, Goldstein and Donald effectively communicated “the reality” — that most of the Caribbean wasn’t impacted at all, and the few islands that were are now welcoming back visitors. The Caribbean is still the most popular cruise region globally and cruise bookings have bounced back.